Rising hope for sustainable rice in Cambodia
“Rice production in Cambodia has increased significantly since 2001 reaching 9.3 million tons on 2 million hectares of agricultural land and engaging 80 per cent of farmers in rice cultivation,” said Mr. Dao Cambodochine, Trade Facilitation Consultant, Asian Synergy Consulting Services Co. Ltd, Cambodia, in his presentation on the role of technology transfer in rice sector for sustainable development during the Policy Dialogue.
Rice is a staple food in Cambodia accounting for 90 per cent of all agricultural production. The country is also the 5th largest exporter of rice in the world. Since 2009, the trade and marketing of rice in Cambodia is continuously rising due to a huge demand for food across Asia and other regions. The country exports rice to more than 100 destinations from the East to the West.
Rice marketing is the major economic activity in Cambodia being traded as an exchange commodity for many goods and services in informal markets. It was not until 2008 that Cambodia exported its first measurable milled rice surplus. Since then, impressive developments have taken place at all levels of the rice supply chain, with a rapid increase in exports. Therefore, public and private partnership in Cambodia invested huge amounts in technology for rice milling industries to facilitate trade and commerce for export and supply management.
Mr. Dao also pointed out that new technologies of rice mills are highly automated and computer-controlled facilities require increased capacities in Cambodia. Improved quality management in rice production also helps to meet international standards. The inception of seed multiplication projects provided access to higher-quality seeds of the most valuable rice varieties, leading to improved yields of homogenous crop. As a result, Cambodian rice is considered ‘green’ and naturally grown with limited use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Subsequently, rice mills are obtaining various quality management and food safety certifications such as ISO, HACCP and GMP.
Furthermore, Mr. Dao also highlighted that rice industry in Cambodia still needs to be uplifted in terms of implementation of the country’s action plan and accountability of logistics such as rejuvenation of water ways for trade, which is under-utilized in the country, maximizing the use of land and improvement of existing waterbodies of Cambodia.
Reporter: Suraj Pandey, APCTT-ESCAP